Skip to main content

Advancing environmental sustainability

We seek sustainable solutions that support the health of our planet.


At AbbVie, we know that caring for people and patients means caring for the place we all call home. Protecting the environment is part of our commitment as scientific stewards. We recognize the environmental risks associated with operating a global business—so we have set ambitious, long-term environmental sustainability targets for absolute reductions to carbon emissions, water and waste generation, striving for zero waste to landfill at our sites, all while driving increases in renewable electricity and fleet sustainability.

Through our disclosures in CDP and the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), we are transparent about our efforts and impacts as well as our risks and opportunities. Our environmental stewardship is focused on reducing our environmental footprint, growing sustainably, as well as inspiring, educating and engaging our workforce to steward sustainability within and beyond AbbVie. 


We recognize the risks posed by global climate change. Our goal is to minimize our environmental impact. In order to understand our current and future energy use and emissions, we have implemented a global energy management program focused on reducing our energy consumption and reducing our carbon footprint. To achieve this, we:

  • Establish absolute reduction goals to reduce our carbon footprint.
  • Set aggressive goals to increase the amount of renewable energy we consume.
  • Invest in technology and infrastructure to reduce our carbon footprint through the implementation of global energy efficiency programs, projects and improvements at our manufacturing, research and commercial facilities.
  • Incorporate energy efficient design into the construction of our new facilities.
  • Continue to transition our sales force vehicles to electric and hybrid alternatives to further our global initiative to embrace fleet sustainability.


We recognize how important it is for global access to clean, safe water and sanitation,and we understand the potential impacts our operations can have on this vital resource. Our patients, customers and employees depend on this increasingly scarce resource, and we are committed to managing and reducing the water we use. To achieve this, we:  

  • Establish absolute reduction goals to reduce our water withdrawal including non-contact cooling water.
  • Collect and analyze the quantity of our water intake and consumption as well as the quality of our water discharge at our global manufacturing and research facilities.
  • Invest in new technologies that enable our continued efforts to reduce water consumption.
  • Evaluate water risk at our global manufacturing and research facilities annually to focus our efforts on the portion of our total global water consumption that occurs in water-stressed areas.
  • Acknowledge our business dependency and potential impact on water in addition to our responsibility beyond regulatory compliance to fulfill obligations for responsible water use, stakeholder awareness and education.


Effectively managing waste protects human health and the environment. At our global manufacturing and research facilities, we generate both hazardous and non-hazardous waste. That’s why we put controls and programs in place to reduce risk, minimize waste generation and use waste disposal alternatives such as beneficial use and recycling. To achieve this we:

  • Establish absolute reduction goals to reduce the amount of hazardous and nonhazardous waste generated, increasing our recycling rate and aspiring to achieve zero waste to landfills by 2035.
  • Evaluate opportunities to reduce, reuse and recycle materials, in addition to implementing initiatives that reduce waste generation.
  • Characterize waste streams to determine waste classification and proper disposal methods.
  • Routinely audit the procedures and practices of third-party waste management providers to ensure our waste is properly managed and disposed of.
  • Ensure that waste management training is provided to AbbVie employees and contract workers before they undertake any responsibility for hazardous waste management activities.
  • Developed a Sustainable Packaging Program focused on Design for Recovery with Circular Economy principles in mind while also optimizing packaging solutions for carbon emissions during transportation and material innovation via supplier engagements.

Adhering to standards

Standards are not only a matter of compliance; they are a way for our organization to participate in common action toward shared goals. We use external partnerships and standards bodies to increase our accountability, help guide our environmental actions and make for collective action that no one company could achieve on its own. Below are a number of examples:

  • In 2021, we joined the Science Based Targets initiative along with other ambitious corporate leaders committing to carbon emission targets aligned to the Paris Climate Agreement. 
  • In 2020, we partnered with S&P Global Trucost to perform a Climate Risk Assessment for Physical Risks. The risk assessment encompassed 100 global sites and locations including all of our manufacturing, R&D, warehouse locations, along with selected commercial affiliate offices. 
  • In preparation for stronger hurricanes, all roofs at our Barceloneta, Puerto Rico site have been designed and reinforced to withstand a Category 5 Hurricane. In addition, we recently replaced the cogeneration system at our Barceloneta, Puerto Rico site.  The new system is designed with redundant engines to better ensure that we can self-generate power in the event that one of the engines is damaged during a storm event.
  • In preparation for power interruptions from wildfires, we installed and commissioned an on-site emergency generator at our new R&D site located in South San Francisco.

The 2021 Assurance Report outlines performance for corporate-wide environmental and safety data.

Pharmaceuticals in the environment

We monitor our operations to ensure that the manufacture use and disposal of our products do not adversely affect people or the planet. Our ongoing research efforts aid our understanding of issues surrounding pharmaceuticals in the environment—insights which will guide our future decisions. To achieve this, we:

Environmentally responsible procurement

Our suppliers are expected to champion our environmental protection efforts with us. As part of our supply chain management program, our supplier sustainability audits include a robust assessment of the environmental stewardship practices of key suppliers and their processes. Through our Environmentally Preferable Products (EPP) procurement policy, we prioritize suppliers and purchased goods that have lower negative impact on the environment and human health. To achieve this, we:

  • Consider and promote favorable environmental factors of procured products including—among other factors—recyclability, biodegradability and elimination of toxicity.
  • Integrate responsible environmental, health and safety (EHS) language into our contract templates to ensure that our EHS stewardship expectations are clearly communicated to suppliers of key products and services.

Engaging our employees as environmental stewards

At AbbVie, our people are our power. They show up for work with commitment and care, and they bring that same level of passion and engagement to our environmental initiatives:

  • Our SPARK Innovation Accelerator is an incubator for employee-driven AbbVie sustainability proposals focused on accelerating our efforts to reduce energy, water and waste. In 2021, colleagues from 37 global sites submitted over 200 innovative ideas. 
  • In North Chicago, a team of scientists built a dashboard to identify facilities that close fume hoods and those who leave them open—allowing energy to escape, like an open window. By making this data visible, the team is influencing positive change and as a result, AbbVie saved almost 15,000 kilowatt hours of energy globally in 2021.

opens in a new window

Joining ambitious organizations in collective action on climate by aligning our commitments to the Paris Climate Agreement. opens in a new window

Protecting the earth, one pound of CO2 at a time with behind-the-scenes improvements to efficiency.

Bringing sustainability ideas from all corners of the company with a global challenge.


Reduction in hazardous waste in the past two years at our Sligo, Ireland manufacturing site due to the installation of an on-site wastewater treatment unit


Reduction of our absolute carbon dioxide emissions (scope 1 and 2) from 2015 to 2021, surpassing our 2025 target of 25%


Increase in the percentage of purchased electricity that is from renewable sources, on track to meet our 2025 target of 50%

For the Well-Being of Our Patients

For the Strength
of Our Communities